Democratic women resort to personal attacks during Florida Senate campaigns

The two Democratic women who are running against each other for Florida Senate District 35 are firing personal attacks.

MIRAMAR, Fla. – The heated race for Florida Senate District 35 is getting nasty. Two Democratic women who agree on most issues are resorting to personal attacks as they both campaign for votes in Broward County.

State Sen. Lauren Book, the minority leader, and former Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief have both released ads assassinating each other’s character.

In the latest attack ad, Sharief shows an old video of Book’s 2009 appearance on the show Platinum Wedding alleging her celebration cost more than $1 million. The ad also accuses Book and her husband of paying themselves about $350,000 from their nonprofit.

Sharief alleges this is evidence of Book’s irresponsibility.

Meanwhile, Book released an ad accusing Sharief of defrauding Medicaid twice. Nearly 10 years ago, the state found her home healthcare company did overbill Medicaid by hundreds of thousands of dollars two times. She ended up settling and paying nearly $700,000.

Book alleges this is evidence of Sharief’s dishonesty.

Sharief did not release a response. Book’s campaign released a statement saying the attacks against her are shameful and the accusations are false.

The primary election is on Aug. 23. Registered Republicans and independents will be able to vote since Republicans don’t have a candidate. For voter assistance, call The Florida Division of Elections at 1-866-308-6739.

Read the Book campaign’s complete statement:

“From day one, Senator Book’s opponent has made false attacks and lied about the Senator’s record. Our opponent continues with shameful, distorted personal attacks, including now attacking the Senator’s marriage and her work supporting abused children.

“Our campaign has shared clear facts based on our opponent’s admission of overbilling Medicaid twice and our opponent’s voting record while on the Broward commission. Every word is truthful, verifiable, and relevant to her job.”

Read Sharief’s full statement below:

“Lauren Book has never been on the ballot and never won an election. I have won many. I understand that when my opponents are losing, they attempt to slander my good name. Since my father was murdered in cold blood many years ago, I have worked hard to achieve everything I have in life.

“I did not have the luxury of having a millionaire lobbyist guiding my future as Lauren’s father has for her. She has made up many provable lies and I feel sorry for her that she is so desperate to win that she has stooped so low.

“I am a strong black woman with three wonderful daughters, and I refuse to allow Lauren Book to lynch my good name. Sadly, she has stooped to going on This Week in South Florida and blamed me for problems with the 911 system. We have an elected Sheriff and if there are problems within his department Lauren has no business laying that at my door especially. I sat on the County Commission with many commissioners who have endorsed Lauren. Is she blaming them as well for the 911 woes?

“I have had numerous calls from members of the black and brown community in Pembroke Pines and Miramar telling me to stay strong as they know Lauren Book has only lived in the district for weeks and I have been fighting for these residents for many years.

“Lauren Book is running a charity that pays her hundreds of thousands in salary from the taxpayers and that exorbitant salary is paid for by us taxpayers…that is why she is so desperate to win her first election, because she knows if she loses this election the legislature will probably cut off her funding because she overpays herself.”

Watch This Week In South Florida

On the latest episode of This Week in South Florida, hosts Glenna Milberg and Michael Putney welcome Miami-Dade School Board members Marta Perez and Dr. Steve Gallon, Miami Commissioner Ken Russell, professor and political analyst Sean Forman and attorney and legal analyst Gail Levine.

About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.